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It's rather amusing that my first foray into the world of Tolkien was such that I did not realize it until years later. During the mid-90s, I had caught the later half of The Hobbit (1977) on Cartoon Network one fateful day and since then that movie had always remained on my mind despite not knowing what it was (info buttons on remote controls is a more recent development for home televisions).
Around the time the The Lord of the Rings films came out, my curiosity got the best of me and so I looked into the story of the books from whence they came. It was from there that I finally learned that the animated feature that I had seen so many years ago was none other than the adaptation of the first book into the world of Tolkien fantasy. As a bookworm, I set out to collect each of the 3 volumes of the Lord of the Rings and eventually followed up with my own personal copy of The Hobbit. I had not felt this enthralled about novels since the Jurassic Park books and it was like going back in time to my childhood.
Being the stickler for chronology I was, I insisted on watching all three Hobbit movies before touching the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Although there were some parts I was not too fond of as deviations from the books, I enjoyed all six movies nonetheless. I have since received a copy of the The Silmarillion as a birthday gift, which I peruse from time to time whenever I felt a need to immerse myself into Tolkien's fantasy world of Middle Earth.
It is a shame that film-wise, the adventures have come to an end. But playing The Lord of the Rings Online have helped to ease the void left behind by the films. (I am rather sad that I've since lost my screenshot of my first meeting with Gandalf in the game.) I find it rather disappointing that the game was renamed from its original title Middle Earth Online as keeping the original title would've given room to visit moments and places from The Hobbit since it was more general. But I suppose they wanted to capitalize on the films in order to draw players in.